LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Because of COVID-19, Catholics in the Diocese of Lafayette have been excused from attending weekly Mass in-person. On June 6, however, that will change.
Bishop Douglas Deshotel announced today that he is lifting the dispensation from the Sunday Obligation put in place at the start of the pandemic.
“Because of the seriousness of the pandemic, the Sunday obligation was dispensed by me to comply with safety directives recommended by health authorities,” said Deshotel. “Now that conditions have improved, people more frequently shop, socialize, go to gyms and participate in other activities outside their homes, the time has come to also observe the Lord’s Day by assisting at Mass on Sundays.
“I am therefore lifting the dispensation from Sunday Obligation in the Diocese of Lafayette beginning on June 6, 2021, the Feast of Corpus Christi,” said Deshotel. “All Catholics will be seriously obligated to assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Those who are sick, in nursing homes, immune-compromised, of advanced age or caring for a sick person at home are, as before, exempt from the obligation.”
When the pandemic began in early 2020 and houses of worship in Louisiana were ordered closed, Diocesan priests turned to live streaming of Masses, drive-through confessions and outdoor Masses as ways to stay in spiritual touch with their congregations.
Deshotel said his decision will also be read in a pastoral letter in all church parishes during the weekend of May 15-16.
“After consulting with experts who have confirmed that with proper precautions we can gather together for Mass, I think that this is the proper time for us to come together to worship God,” said Deshotel. The bishop also expressed his thanks to “our many good priests who looked for ways to creatively continue to minister to us in a safe way during the pandemic.”
Download and read Bishop Deshotel’s entire pastoral letter below: